The Damascus Carol: What Really Happened to St. Paul during that Flash of Light (it gets weird)

This was written for my “Who is Jesus?” class at Wycliffe College, an Anglican seminary in Toronto where I’m studying to be a priest. The assignment was to write a fictional story about Jesus based on what we know of him from a New Testament booking of our choosing (not a Gospel). Because I like to torture myself, I chose Romans. Insane task, and it got crazy fast. (9 min read)

“They deserve death,” said Saul to the Roman soldier, “and THAT is why we are going to Damascus today. There is a group that meets in a freed Jewish slave’s home tomorrow night. Rumours are there will also be Gentiles there too, with other Jewish traitors, eating what they believe is the ACTUAL body of Jesus, who they are calling Lord and Messiah. Cannibalism and blasphemy!”

The Roman soldier straightens and nods, and turns to gather the supplies they will need for the long journey ahead.

“We leave immediately,” says Saul. “Bring with you several other Roman guards. We want to put the fear of Adonai in them.”

Continue reading ‘The Damascus Carol: What Really Happened to St. Paul during that Flash of Light (it gets weird)’


God Doesn’t Promise Us a Rose Garden (But Flowers Will Bloom Through the Cracks)

Being woke is exhausting.

As a sexual assault survivor, who also suffers from chronic insomnia, the online debates this week about Aziz Ansari’s alleged sexual assault felt particularly depleting.

It’s exhausting to endure misogyny, sexism, and disrespect on a daily basis. It’s exhausting to take on the emotional labour of educating those in power about their privilege.

It’s exhausting to be re-traumatized every time you find out that another seemingly woke person you looked up to is really just another man who does not respect women or understand consent.

It’s exhausting to have to explain to people who just don’t get it, why them defending this man hurts you.

Continue reading ‘God Doesn’t Promise Us a Rose Garden (But Flowers Will Bloom Through the Cracks)’

Life, Death, Resurrection, Hope: An Epiphany Sermon for Broken Hearts

“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.       For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples;                                    but the Lord will arise upon you,                                                                                              and his glory will appear over you.” (Isaiah 60:1-2)

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Change is hard.

Not to mention disorienting, sad and fearful. So often in life we think we some things are unquestionably constant, and certain, and it never even occurs to us that it can be different than they are, and then a piece of news can hit you, seemingly out of nowhere, like a bus, and suddenly, the world seems different and you don’t recognize your life anymore, and so you might as well go dye your hair purple! If you can’t fight it, might as well embrace it with something that makes you inexplicably happy, right?

This is literally what happened to me over the Christmas break. So, I am no stranger to these feelings. About a week before Christmas, a relationship that was very significant to me, and that I was very grateful for, and certain it was heading in a particular direction, suddenly ended. I did not see it coming, and was in shock, and was instantly propelled into a very deep and devastatingly painful place of darkness.

And in that darkness I had a choice to make.

Continue reading ‘Life, Death, Resurrection, Hope: An Epiphany Sermon for Broken Hearts’

I hate you because you remind me of Me

We are often angry at others for embodying specific qualities or behaviours that we do not like about ourselves.

This, at least, has been true for me.

I have burned with anger at students for not listening to me, for not doing their work, or for being chronically late.

I have been annoyed at others for being socially clueless or awkward.

I have been frustrated at my mother for asking “stupid questions” or not being more sensitive to how I need to be cared for.

Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and my all-time favourite spiritual teacher, has helped me immensely to figure out that one of the reasons I have gotten so frustrated at these people is because Continue reading ‘I hate you because you remind me of Me’

She Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost: A Feminist Relates to St. Mary Magdalene

I have hated my name for as long as I can remember. During the week I was born in January 1980, the name “Jennifer” was so popular (2nd only to “Jessica”) that there were like 6 other Jennifers born on the same floor.

My surprised mother had thought that it was an “old fashioned” name, despite it being ranked #1 for girls in North America the previous decade (to her credit there were no baby name books or online databases or even books back then). After she realized how common it was, she changed it to “Joy” – for a week. Which would have been so cool! I often daydream about how my life would have been gloriously different and serene if my name was unique and prophetic like Joy!

But alas, she said it just didn’t feel right, and after a week, changed it back to Jennifer.

The result was having a lot of other Jens, Jenns, Jennifers, Jennas and Jennys in every single class and friend group I had growing up. It was easy to get us confused, so teachers assigned each of us different versions of the name. Or, the worst, being called Jen G, because there was already a Jen T, Jen V, and Jen W. Even now, I have too many friends named Jen, and stories about who did or said what get confused often. My *brother* even married a Jen, which makes family gatherings quite delightful as you can imagine.

And then there was that time that I was mistaken for Jennifer *Lopez* in a remote Nepalese mountain village in 2004, just because news spread quickly that there was a Jennifer in town. Continue reading ‘She Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost: A Feminist Relates to St. Mary Magdalene’

Detox: My year in hell and back again


One year ago today, on my 35th birthday, I was in the midst of the deepest depression of my life. I felt bad for the two friends who took me out for lunch, I was too dazed and sad to care.

In the 4 months prior, I had lost my adoring boyfriend, my other most supportive friend, my community house, and access to meaningful work. And with it all, my sense of who I was.

With no safe place to live, no one in my entire Vancouver community had the capacity to house or support me the way I needed to be. I felt so alone. I felt abandoned.

The week between Christmas and New Years was spent in the Psychiatric Assessment Unit at Vancouver General Hospital. The anesthetized, white,empty walls and people numbed with drugs all around me made me feel Continue reading ‘Detox: My year in hell and back again’

Yes But And: How Not to Hate Yourself

Yes I can be aggressive

But for you they call that Assertiveness

Yes I get angry at injustice

But for you they call that Passion

Yes I often speak before thinking

But for you they call that Wit

Continue reading ‘Yes But And: How Not to Hate Yourself’

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